Breaking news coming out of the Food and Drug Administration today as they announced that alternative milks aren’t actually milk at all. Wild, I know. But it turns out that these alternative milks—y’know, nut, soy, oat, etc, the ones defined specifically by their not containing lactose (lacktose)—aren’t technically milks because they don’t have lactose.
According to Politico, the FDA is going to start cracking down on the marketing of alternative milks as “milk,” because it is apparently confusing and may lead to someone accidentally not buying cow milk when they really want cow mi… oh look! Cashews! I wonder how they got cashews in that cow’s milk. Better buy a carton and find out without reading anything else on the packaging.
Or as FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb puts it, “An almond doesn’t lactate, I will confess.” Which is maybe a funny joke that would have elicited a snicker in the hippy dippy Meet The Parents sequel, Meet The Fockers, but it's hardly a guiding principle by which the government should be making regulations. The FDA will be issuing “a guidance document outlining changes to its so-called standards of identity policies for marketing milk.”
Not to Whataboutism this to the high heavens, but really? This is what the government is spending time on? How is it that Conservatives—the party of limited government and unfettered capitalism—have decided that they, the government, should step in here? Shouldn’t we get to call anything we want a “milk” and let the market determine if it is or not? Isn’t that how that works? I understand it’s a stupid way of doing things, but isn’t that what the whole conservative economic platform is all about?
And further, who in the hell decided that “milk” was defined by a presence of lactose? Sure, the first milk humans presumably encountered (breast milk) contained lactose, but that hardly seems like the defining characteristic. When someone describes something as “milky,” are they commenting on how much lactose is present? Or are they describing some other quality—a creamy texture perhaps—one that is in cow’s milk, oat milk, nut milk, coconut milk, soy milk, milk oolong, and so on? It’s clear the government is in the pockets of Big Udders.
Anyway, Gottlieb states that the FDA will “soon start gathering public comment before taking next steps in redefining the rules for milk products.” So pretty soon you’ll have to order a tall iced latte with an “almond-based alternative to milk but definitely not milk,” or whatever cumbersome new naming convention the FDA will come up with.
Please no one tells these rubes about turkey bacon.